Stepping into the realm of 8-inch monitors comes with a range of benefits. Deeper low ends and louder volumes to name a few. In this guide, we breakdown the 8-inch monitors worth considering.
KRK Rokit 8 G4
Excellent build quality with advanced next-generation tuning features. Broad sweet spot and clear sound.
Ultra-flat response for accurate mixing and mastering. Clean design, crisp sound, and impressive build quality.
A Complete Review Of The Gear
There are some fantastic choices available in this segment of the studio monitor market. Let’s dive into the details.
KRK Rokit 8 G4 Review
- Excellent Build Quality – KRK continues its tradition of exceptional build quality in its speakers. With Kevlar drivers and solid box construction. An excellent choice for longevity.
- Next-Gen Tuning – DSP tuning options with a convenient LCD screen. Plenty of flexibility to adjust to your studio environment.
- Satisfying Balance – An excellent blend between all frequencies. Highs are crisp, Mids are clean and the Low end isn’t boomy.
- Wide Sweetspot – A broad sweet spot allows you to have more flexibility when placing your speakers. Also great for general listening.
- Requires Tuning – When tuned accordingly to your studio space these sound great. But straight out of the box they are not ideal. An extra setup step that may be daunting to beginners.
The new generation KRK Rokit 8 G4 is an outstanding speaker. Fantastic refinement of an already popular speaker. The new LCD screen makes tuning more intuitive and while it does take some initial tweaking the results are great. Housed in an attractive and iconic yellow and black box these are also a statement piece for any studio. If you are looking at 8-inch monitors the Rokit 8 G4 should be high on your list of options.
Read our full KRK Rokit 8 G4 review for more detailed information.
KRK Rokit 8 G4
Yamaha HS8 Review
- Impressive Sound Quality – The HS8 delivers excellent sound quality. No distortion and clean delivery make these a joy to listen to. Excellent for long studio sessions.
- Reliable – Excellent materials and build quality. Yamaha has a reputation for professional-level gear and the HS8 is no exception.
- Ultra Flat Response – For analytical listening the HS8 excels. No frequency dominates and you’ll easily be able to pick up flaws in your mix.
- Subtle Design – The simple color scheme is attractive and understated. Great for producers that don’t like loud colors on their monitors.
- Benefits From A Sub – Due to the super flat response the low end does need a sub. If you make bass-heavy music I’d suggest adding a sub.
The Yamaha HS8 is another excellent 8-inch studio monitor that is worth considering. Tailored to the professional that spends long hours mastering. Ear fatigue is minimal thanks to the excellent clarity and balance of frequencies. Tuning options are minimal but enough to refine the sound to your space. Another excellent speaker from the team at Yamaha.
Read our full Yamaha HS8 review for more detailed information.
PreSonus Sceptre S8 Review
- Excellent Sound Imaging – Wide soundstage with a great feeling of depth. Fantastic clarity. There is also no sound distortion at higher volumes.
- Flat Response – Excellent response with no frequency taking the limelight. Great for picking up details in your mix or the music you listen to.
- Punches Above Its Weight – The Sceptre S8 is an impressive speaker and gives more expensive monitors a run for their money. If you want top-tier professional quality at a cheaper price these are worth considering.
- Good Tuning Options – Low-frequency and High-frequency tuning options along with Room Control. Perfect for adjusting to your studio space.
- Not Budget Friendly – While not as expensive as the top of the line monitors they are also more expensive than other options. Good value but not for the budget-conscious.
Presonus have delivered an excellent speaker with the Sceptre S8. They sound great and perform as well if not better than speakers double their price. Reviving the co-axial design that was once in vogue was risky. They’ve taken the lessons from years gone by and improved performance on every level. An excellent speaker despite its higher price.
PreSonus Sceptre S8
JBL 308P MkII Review
- Good Sound Quality – The 308P MkII offers an immersive and clean listening experience. Details are noticeable and the music sounds rich and full of body.
- Affordable Price – Aimed at the entry-level market these offer excellent value for money. If you’re on a budget these are among the best 8-inch speakers for the price.
- Large Sweetspot – Generous sweet spot that expands as you move further away. Great for filling a medium-sized studio and for general listening.
- Loud – Speaking of filling a room these speakers have plenty of loudness. An excellent option if you like to crank it up.
- Not The Flattest Monitor – They do sound great but there is a slight over-emphasis on the low end. Great for DJs in the studio but not the best for analytical mixing.
JBL continues to offer affordable speakers that deliver. The 5-inch model is impressive and the 8-inch 308P MkII steps it up again. Plenty of depth in the music and a decent response. As a DJ these are enjoyable to use as your studio monitors. If you listen to a lot of music and move around your studio a lot these are an excellent choice.
JBL 308P MkII
Focal Audio ALPHA 80 Review
- Excellent Volume Range – The Alpha 80 studio monitors deliver great performance across all volume levels. From low to high the definition is there.
- Fantastic Clarity – Speaking of definition these sound great. Crisp and clear highs, mid-tones that are smooth and not muddy. Plus a satisfying low end that doesn’t need a subwoofer.
- Standby Mode – A neat added feature will auto-standby the speaker when it detects no input for 30 minutes. Excellent power-saving feature. Plus it will auto engage when they detect source material.
- Defined Tuning Options – Sensitivity options for when you need extra volume. Extra Low and High-frequency adjustment options that are clean and well defined.
- On The Expensive Side – Much like the PreSonus Sceptre S8 these are in the mid-tier price-wise. You do get what you pay for but be mindful if you are on a tight budget.
The Focal Audio Alpha 80 is a refined and satisfying studio monitor. Clarity is high and it delivers a rich soundscape. Flat response for accurate mixing and mastering makes these an ideal candidate for professionals. You do need to pay more. But, when you consider how good these sound they are worth it.
Focal Audio ALPHA 80
Mackie CR8-XBT Review
- Budget Price – Mackie has always delivered outstanding entry-level options. If you are setting up your studio on the cheap these are a good way to get larger monitors without the larger price tag.
- Bluetooth – Stream music directly to the speakers. Excellent flexibility for enjoying music no matter what the source.
- Headphone Option – Showing the consumer focus these speakers have a headphone connection on the front. Great for casual listening and not something other monitors offer.
- Front Volume Control – Convenient control over the volume with a dedicated knob on the front. You don’t need to fiddle around to get to the back or rely on external control over volume.
- Hard To Gauge Longevity – Unlike other studio monitors on this list these are brand-new. At this stage, it’s hard to tell how they will hold up over time. Mackie’s previous entry-level offerings were not the hardest wearing so I’m hoping things have improved here.
One of the most popular entry-level manufacturers of monitors has revamped its core line. The Mackie CR8-XBT offers an updated and cleaner aesthetic that still retains that trademark green. Improvements to sound quality are also present. While not the flattest of monitors it does offer excellent versatility. One of the best budget 8-inch options currently available.
JBL 708P Review
- Flat Response – Excellent delivery across all frequencies. The sound is clear and present allowing for a detailed analysis of your mix.
- Outstanding Build Quality – Premium materials and a refined design. These are monitors that will serve you for many years to come.
- Crisp Soundstage – Wide soundstage that still maintains dynamic imaging. Clarity is excellent and distortion is practically non-existent.
- Meaty Low End – These handle the low-end with ease. You can get away with not using a subwoofer. Plenty of depth and warmth without colorization.
- Expensive – These are in the upper tier of studio monitors and the price reflects that. Excellent sound quality but certainly not aimed at the beginner market.
JBL’s range of entry-level monitors is among my favorites. The reason they can offer such fantastic beginner models is due to the experience they have with high-end gear. The JBL 708P is an excellent example of what a professional studio monitor sounds like. No ear fatigue and sound that is second to none. But you do have to pay a lot to experience the best from JBL.
Fluid Audio FX8 Review
- Accurate Soundscape – Good spread across the frequencies. Nothing seems out of place with crisp highs, accurate mids, and pleasing lows.
- Broad Listening Position – Due to the design the sweet spot is very broad. No need for you to remain in one position for maximum sound quality.
- Volume Control – Convenient volume control on the front of the unit. Something I wish more speakers offered.
- Smaller Size – Thanks to the co-axial design the cabinet is smaller. Excellent for smaller studios or if you don’t like the overbearing size of other 8-inch speakers.
- Lacks Tuning Options – It sounds good out of the box. But it would have been good to have a couple of tuning options available. If you have an awkward studio space this could be an issue.
The Fluid Audio FX8 is another well-priced speaker that delivers. Excellent compact design and large sweet spot. A perfect speaker for those that want to maximize space in the studio. It also offers impressive durability with a range of built-in protections. From RF interference to an external heat sink.
Fluid Audio FX8
Mackie MR824 Review
- Big Sweetspot – An expansive sweet spot makes these monitors a good option for both the studio and general listening.
- More Refined Design – A more professional and subtle design compared to their entry-level range. Pleasing to look at while maintaining Mackie’s unique flair.
- Solid Balance – Sound quality is good with these. If you want a flat response these will deliver. Not as refined as more expensive speakers but for the price these are great.
- Loud – More than capable of filling a medium-sized studio. When coupled with the large sweet spot they serve as excellent all-round speakers for your home.
- Highs Can Be a Little Harsh – While the clarity is good the high frequencies can be a little grating. They seem overly bright. Only really noticeable in longer listening sessions.
Mackie doesn’t just offer entry-level monitors. The MR824 shows what else they are capable of. A more refined and professional design. This reflects the improvements in sound quality as well. A solid monitor that offers good build quality. If you want to step up beyond Mackie’s beginner monitors these should be on your list.
Behringer B1031A Review
- Good Value – The B1031A is another excellent value for money option. Reasonably priced while still giving you access to good sound quality.
- Very Loud – With the ability to hit 113dB this speaker is loud enough to fill your studio space with sound.
- Overload Protection – Built-in overload protection helps keep your speaker safe.
- Tuning Options – Despite the budget price you still get quality tuning options. Low-frequency, high-frequency, and room compensation help smooth out the output.
- Unbalanced Highs – Despite a decent balance, the B1031A doesn’t have the best sounding highs. Slightly tinny and too sharp.
The Behringer B1031A is a budget alternative to more expensive speakers. Offering a solid set of features it’s worth considering if you like your music loud. While not the best for analytical listening it still offers a pleasant soundscape. With a design that is reminiscent of another popular speaker, it will also make a pronounced statement in your studio.
Our Expert Buying Guide
As you step up to the 8-inch category of studio monitors there are many things worth considering. So before diving in and spending your hard-earned money check out our tops tips.
One of the critical specs you’ll find listed in the Frequency Response or Frequency Range. This gives you an indication of the frequencies the speaker can accurately represent.
The first number will represent the low-end output. The average human can hear down to about 20Hz. Anything higher than that is usually felt rather than heard. If you want a smooth low-end aim for a monitor that can go beyond 20Hz.
The second number represents the high end. This is where the treble frequencies sit. Much like low-end frequencies the average human hears up to about 20kHz. Any extra range beyond this helps give the treble room to breathe and offers better clarity.
8-inch speakers offer a lot more volume than smaller speakers. They also handle that volume more cleanly and provide less distortion at higher volumes. If you like your music loud you should find most 8-inch speakers will satisfy you.
8-inch studio monitors offer plenty of depth and volume.
Keep in mind as a producer or DJ you should look after your hearing. For example, the average concert ranges between 110-120db. Many 8-inch monitors give a similar output at full volume within 1 meter. Consistently listening to music at this level can lead to hearing damage so aim to not expose yourself to this range for long periods.
Having a monitor that has plenty of volume output allows you to have plenty of headroom. This means you don’t need to push the speaker as hard and it will result in less wear and tear.
The other consideration is the sweet spot that the monitor offers. If you are a producer you’ll likely have the speakers positioned on your work surface. Many studio monitors are nearfield and ideal for these types of setups. A narrow sweet spot is less important here as you’ll likely be in the same spot for most of your time in the studio.
But if you are a DJ or want to use studio monitors for small house parties you’ll need a broader sweet spot. A large sweet spot ensures there is minimal difference in the sound quality based on your positioning to the speakers.
Speakers For DJs And Producers
The role of DJs and producers used to be more defined than it is today. With the growth of EDM culture and the accessibility of DJ equipment, there is plenty of competition out there. Pure technical skill as a DJ is no longer enough to get recognized. The most successful DJs are also producers.
As a DJ if you want to reach a larger audience you’ll need to start producing music.
While these two disciplines have very distinct skillsets they have become closely entwined. If you are a DJ understanding the production process is important. As a result, having a good set of studio monitors is critical.
As you expand into producing you’ll want to make sure your tracks are clean and crisp. Mixing and mastering is an essential part of producing good music. Also having access to good monitors can shed more detail and light on the music you enjoy which helps to inform your productions.
You may have become accustomed to the more colored sound of hi-fi systems or PA speaker systems. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the output these systems provide. But for producing you’ll need a good set of studio monitors. Otherwise, your latest creation may sound great in your studio but be horrible on other sound systems.
Which One Should You Buy?
There are plenty of excellent options in the 8-inch space. If you have the room for them and the budget you’ll be very satisfied with the results compared to smaller monitors.
Selecting a winner is difficult but when you consider flexibility, great design, and sound quality the KRK Rokit 8 G4 is a winner. A well-rounded speaker that is great for DJs and producers.
But if you are strictly a producer the ultra-fast response on the Yamaha HS8 is another excellent alternative.
No matter which studio monitors you buy you should take the time to set them up properly and adjust them to your environment. Then sit back and enjoy discovering new details in the music you love.
KRK Rokit 8 G4